By Alexis Yap
THE reality of global warming and its urgency has had me consciously training myself these past years towards being more environment-friendly. I have made it a habit to always bring reusable, cloth bags whenever I go shopping and verbally telling the baggers at department stores and fast food outlets, “No need. Reuse that bag. Save mother earth,” hoping it would stick to them and make them start a new personal habit.
My good friend, the founder of the brand/movement of Baianiko is more hard-core as she’s had a head start of at least a couple of decades. Even back in the early nineties, in her high school days, she would cry herself to sleep worrying about her neighbors depleting the ozone layer by merely turning on their air conditioning units. In school, she even wrote to her principal complaining about how the school was causing harm to the environment burning trash.
Back then, she was known as Lisa Kristine Bigornia before she was married to her husband Lloyd Suarez who, according to her, “never really got the romance of going green but knows doesn’t joke about it”. Their three kids, on the other hand, grew up with a healthy love for mother nature and – like their mother who would always rather DIY than buy – a knack for crafts.
Biggy, as we fondly called her from way back in high school, has always loved the beach. She considered taking up Marine Biology as an alternative to Environmental Science which her father used to tease her about becoming a basurero someday if she pursued it. She ended up studying something else in college but remained faithful to her recycling and upcycling habits, even making sure to instill this sensibility to her children.
Her eldest son Matthew, my athletic godson, used to have a cabinet full of empty bottles he would use for projects. Although he has already outgrown this phase, it has helped him become the handy DIY-guy that he is today. Martina, her second, knows how to sew but her inclination is more into drawing. Her youngest, Melina, takes more after her – holding empty cups and packaging for recycling while walking around the mall. If you open her backpack, you’d think it was filled with garbage but to her, those were project materials.
So what exactly is Baianiko?
“It’s a statement of hope and faith that all of us are heroes for tomorrow. Baianiko is a play of words – bayani spelled with an ‘I’ instead of ‘y’ because we want to build a community of friends we call bai in bisaya, who believe that going green is worth the hassle. Bayani ko, ikaw? Bayani ka ba? Something like that. Baianiko – because we are all heroes who stand for Mother Earth,” Biggy explained. Moreover, the concept, baianihan, (a wordplay on the tagalog bayanihan) is not officially born yet as business registration papers are still in the works. At the same time, teasers posted online are getting such overwhelming response with interested resellers from all over country. Of course, like all the eager retailers, we will have to wait until their official launching, after all the paperwork are in place.
They are focused on things that result in high volume waste through using alternative products or solutions like bamboo toothbrushes, shampoo bars, stainless steel straws, stainless steel water canteens, upcycled bags, toys, and enamel mugs among many other cool eco-friendly stuff that reduce harmful, non-biodegradable waste. Samples of these products are available at the Weecraft stall at Tinda Locale. Also, for more information about these products, visit their space online at baianihan.com. Watch out for many more cool, eco-friendly stuff that will join the already stellar line-up of planet-saving products.
As a mother who made sure to raise all her three children instilling in them this way of thinking, I asked her what her hope is. She said, “My hope is that someday we can all be free – free from plastic. We can’t change overnight but we can give up one straw or one plastic cup, one day at a time… and that will already make a world of difference.” Now that’s what I would consider one very awesome mother’s nature.